Almost all computers today operate as part of a network, where they assist people in coordinating actions. Sometimes what appears to be a single computer is actually a network of cooperating computers; e.g., some supercomputers consist of many processors operating in parallel and exchanging synchronization signals. One of the most fundamental requirements in all these systems is that certain operations be indivisible: the steps of one must not be interleaved with the steps of another. Two approaches were designed to implement this requirement, one based on central locks and the other on distributed order tickets. Practicing scientists and engineers need to come to be familiar with these methods.